You have a young puppy that you would like to train to lay down on command. The puppy is healthy, has a basic understanding of “sit” command, and is comfortable with clicker training.
The puppy is curious, eager to learn, and motivated by food treats. They may initially stand or sit when attempting to teach the “lay down” command, and will require guidance and patience from the trainer.
How To Train Your Dog to Lay Down
- Start from a Sit
Begin in a quiet, distraction-free area with your puppy in a sitting position.
- Hold a treat
Hold a treat in your hand, letting the puppy sniff it to gain their attention.
- Slowly lower the treat
Slowly lower the treat to the ground, guiding your puppy’s head down with the treat.
- The puppy’s head follows the treat
As the puppy’s head follows the treat, their body should naturally lower into a lying down position. If not, gently guide their body into the correct position.
- Click and reward
As soon as the puppy lies down, click the clicker and reward them with the treat.
- Introduce a verbal command
Introduce a verbal command, such as “down” or “lay,” while performing the above steps. Be consistent with the command you choose.
Practice this process multiple times daily, gradually increasing the distance between the treat and the ground until the puppy understands the command without needing the treat as a lure.
- Fade the reward
Once the puppy is consistently laying down with the verbal command, gradually reduce the use of treats and introduce other forms of reinforcement like praise and affection.
By consistently practicing the “lay down” command with your puppy and using positive reinforcement, your puppy will learn to lay down on command. This will lead to a well-trained, obedient dog that responds to your commands, which can be particularly useful in situations where you need your dog to be calm or submissive. Additionally, teaching your puppy to lay down on command can help to establish a strong bond between you and your dog, as it fosters trust and communication.